Sunday, February 9, 2014

Before the halt - Electrical

Before I pretty much downed tools and walked away from the refit of Ronin, I had made good progress on the what amounted to a complete re-wiring of the boat. I decided to go ahead and spend the time and money because the twenty-five year-old wiring was becoming problematic. I was having problems with starting the engine. The original distribution panels were insufficient for our planned upgrades. The original wiring was corroding and in some cases, the connections to the breakers were either barely hanging on or were doubled up so that one breaker was responsible for several circuits. The overall mess behind the distribution panels was a problem if any emergency repairs were required.

Around 2000 I decided to pull the original distribution panels, paint them, replace any suspect breakers and generally just clean up the factory wiring as much as possible. It wasn’t pretty. I did the best I could without spending much money, basically sorting out and identifying all the circuits. That in and of itself was a fairly large job. I was able to come up with a wiring identification sheet so that I knew what was what behind the walls.

After replacing all the original connectors, I used the existing wiring and bus bars which I placed on up a simple wiring backing board to help organize things. Any orphan wires, and there were a few, were labeled and wrapped up for future investigation.

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After completing that task, I roughed out a panel to replace the original one and screwed it into place at the navigation station. Not pretty but it did have some unique art features. And it functioned well. We kept it for a long time.

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As I was doing this I was keeping in mind that I would need to do a complete refit of the electrical system. I took notes of all the wiring in the boat and put together a wiring diagram of the existing system.

In 2009, when I started in on the design and work to upgrade the electrical system I was able to put together a proposed wiring diagram for our upgrades based on the original wiring diagram. The preparation was well worth the effort.


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After getting an idea of where I wanted to go, I started ordering. Distribution panels from Blue Sea Systems. Battery management panels too. Bulk wiring, cabling, connectors, bus bars, terminal blocks and switches. Any and all the tools that I didn’t already have.

Over the next summer I cut, pulled out, snaked in, added new and removed old, circuits that would replace the existing ones and used for new purposes. Although I already knew, it was still a big, time-consuming and expensive project. But I think that the results will be a big plus.

New distribution panel test.

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New electrical wiring shelf and backing panel.

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Some of the supplies. With an IPA...

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More posts of previous work coming...

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